Friday, July 5, 2013

A Nautical Adventure

By 7 AM, I awoke realizing that I not only had the day off from class, but will be spending it with my cohort by going to the beautiful Niagara Falls. We all met up at RPCC, ate breakfast, and then Mr. Chan-Law picked us up at Risley Hall by 9 AM to begin the long three-hour drive to the border of Ontario, Canada.

The travel northward was filled with pleasant, natural scenery, from vast fields of grass to secluded barnyards.

We even spotted a few Amish residents passing by in their buggies! As each hour passed, my excitement for today grew exponentially. Fortunately, time flew by and we reached our destination, ready to start the adventure.

First, we went to Hard Rock Cafe, a rock and roll themed eatery, for a hearty lunch. Once we finished, the Niagara State Park was literally outside of the establishment and the falls were just walking distance. The most alluring tourist attraction was the Maid of the Mist, a boat tour of Niagara Falls.
Its immense popularity was evident when we arrived reached the line, which was filled with so many people that I could not even count. We spent an hour and twenty minutes just waiting in line for the attraction! Thankfully, it was moving relatively quickly so we were able to reach the attraction promptly. After descending down the escalators, we were provided with blue translucent 'rain coats' and boarded the boat. I have to admit that I was little nervous because I have not been on a boat in years and the thought of cruising within feet of the powerful Niagara Falls was intimidating. But as soon as we sailed across the Niagara River, my nervousness disappeared once I witnessed the beauty of the falls. We trekked through the river nearing the Rainbow Bridge, and were face to face with a dense mist of spray from the Horseshoe Falls. Naturally, everyone on board was struck by the backlash of the falls' waters, but the rain coats sufficed in keeping us moderately dry. I was afraid that my phone would be swept away by the water or that it would malfunction at some point during the cruise, but it did not and I was able to take many photographs of the falls first hand.
A view of Niagara Falls from the bridge we were waiting in line in
Getting ready for the falls!

Me in front of the Rainbow Bridge
Face to face with Horseshoe Falls
Once our wet travel of Niagara Falls ended, we ventured to the state park's aquarium, which gave us a chance to dry off. This exhibit was filled with a wide variety of marine animals including balloon fish, sea turtles, and sea lions. 
Sea Turtle
Balloon Fish

Fascination with these enchanting creatures of the ocean blue were manifested into bursts of light from the tourists' cameras and constant tapping on the glass windows. I could not help but feel disdain toward the tourists because they were frightening and disturbing these delicate animals. Fortunately, most of them began ceasing these annoying acts and the atmosphere of the aquarium became much more peaceful. Before leaving Niagara, we visited the Discovery Center where illustrative, historical presentations of the park's history were presented as well as three-dimensional depictions of several sectors of the park.

At 5:45 PM, Mr. Chan-Law drove us back to Ithaca, where we enjoyed Vietnamese cuisine at Saigon Kitchen. Everyone was raving about how delectable the food was, especially Pho. I never had Vietnamese food before so I was happy to experience something new (again). We began with numerous appetizers, including beef skewers and fried squid, and were given quite large portions for the main entrees. Nonetheless, all the food was simply delicious. 
Saigon Stir Fry with Shrimp
Amazing, spectacular, and remarkable: these are the three words I can think of when describing this day. I got to visit one of the most beautiful attractions on Earth with my cohort and I am so grateful to have had this experience. 

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